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Newcastle Uni vice chancellor Chris Day has been appointed as Russell Group chair

Professor Chris Day now represents 24 leading UK research universities

Newcastle University’s vice chancellor, Chris Day, has taken a new role as the chair of the Russell Group.

Professor Day has been the vice chancellor of Newcastle University since 2017. Prior to this, he had an extensive reputation in medical research as a consultant hepatologist, reports Newcastle University Press Office.

His predecessor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell of the University of Manchester, led the organisation for the last three years.

Professor Day has been vocal about the significant challenges students face in his new role, such as the cost of living crisis, securing sustainable funding to support high-quality teaching, and encouraging economic contribution from research universities.

Day commented on his new position and said: “I think undoubtedly in the economically challenging times that we’re in at the moment, what the government and the public will like to hear about is how the research-intensive universities of the Russell Group will play a role in the economy. How we can – through education, research and our spending – contribute to growth in every corner of the UK and tackle global challenges like climate change.

“The students we are teaching today will be the skilled workers businesses and public services like the NHS need tomorrow, but we know they’re getting less maintenance support than they used to. We’ve made big increases to hardship funds but students are facing the same cost pressures that we’re dealing with as universities.

“We all want to set students up for success and that means delivering fair funding to protect high-quality teaching and looking again at maintenance payments to ensure they reflect inflation.”

Furthermore, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, Dr Tim Bradshaw said: “With students and universities facing similar economic pressures as families and businesses around the UK, this is a critical moment for the Russell Group.

“Chris will provide vital experience and leadership as we work to make the case for our universities and the potential of the teaching, research and innovation work they deliver to build a bright future for the UK. I’m delighted to welcome him as our new chair today, as we approach the run-up to the next general election.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Nancy for leading our group through the pandemic and for always championing our world-class universities, our researchers and the wider role the whole Russell Group community plays across the UK and internationally.”

The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities. The Russell Group maintain a reputation for world-class research and education for their students and believes these factors create a stronger economy, community and better future for the UK.